Swarna Shukla-

Published on: November 26, 2021, 17:40 IST

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Central Government and IPS officer Rakesh Asthana in a Plea filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging his appointment as Commissioner of Delhi Police.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna issued notice after briefly hearing CPIL lawyer, Prashant Bhushan.

The Plea is an Appeal against a judgment of the Delhi High Court which had on October 12 dismissed the challenge to Asthana’s appointment, stating that there was no violation of the Supreme Court’s Prakash Singh judgment or any violation of service rules that merited the High Court’s interference in the appointment of Asthana as DCP.

CPIL initially approached the Supreme Court challenging Asthana’s appointment. Meanwhile, another Petitioner Sadre Alam moved the High Court challenging the appointment.

The Supreme Court had, therefore, kept CPIL petition pending and given liberty to the NGO to intervene before the High Court.

The High Court then dismissed Alam’s plea after a detailed hearing in which CPIL was also heard as intervenor. The NGO has now moved the Supreme Court in appeal.

Asthana’s appointment by the Centre was argued to be in contravention of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh v. Union of India. 

The High Court ruled that the directions given by the Supreme Court in the case of Prakash Singh v. Union of India are not applicable to the appointment of heads of police in Union Territories.

The Court also found merit in the Central government’s contention that Delhi, being the capital of India, has its own characteristics, peculiar factors, complexities and sensitivities, which are far lesser in any other Commissionerate.

The Petitioner and the Intervenor alleged the violation of various service rules in appointing Asthana as DCP by granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service days before his retirement. The Court, however, concluded that the Central government had the power to relax some of the rules cited.

It added that the Petitioner and the Intervenor have been unable to demonstrate that there was any blot in Asthana’s service career and that the executive in Delhi has reasonable discretion to select a suitable officer for the post based on his career graph.

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